Seeing Beyond The Surface

Tuesday 31 December, 2013

Beyond the surface of our immediate observations, every subtlety of feeling, every momentary glance, and every casual remark conveys information. We are prone to miss the finer points of our behaviour and interactions, because we overlook or disregard what is always there. If we are watchful, however, there is much we can learn. Here is an example of what I mean:

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Calibrate The Machine

Friday 20 December, 2013

The more familiar you are with your core self, the easier it is to identify and deal with how your direct environment affects you. But with everything going on around you, how can you tell the difference between what is you and what you might be picking up – or have picked up years ago – from others? From day one we are so busy improving and developing that we hardly have time to catch our breath, let alone take stock or come to rest. Progress implies motion, so when do we have the chance to stop and reflect? And how do we calibrate who we really are?

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Find A Way To Open The Valve

Monday 16 December, 2013

A friend spoke of her professional development and how recent feedback suggested she needs to be more compassionate with her colleagues. For many people this may seem a rather lofty goal. Compassion, like forgiveness, appears to be one of those traits we idealise but rarely strive for because they are the property of the enlightened few and, therefore, out of reach for the rest of us. I disagree.

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4 Hours, 4 Weeks, 4 Months

Tuesday 10 December, 2013

Regardless of the time period or indeed the specifics of a situation, there is a process at work. A process which represents the fundamental elements of any development journey or project we undertake. When we see it clearly we are able to make our lives easier by harnessing the insights we gain and applying them resolutely to future projects. This post takes examples from one group and two individual clients to demonstrate how much of this underlying information is available and how easily accessible it is.

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See Your Progress

Tuesday 26 November, 2013

In the previous post I wrote about how the excitement of progress can lead to a loss of focus, undermining our achievement. This post examines the other side of that coin: that we overlook our progress altogether, failing to recognise the small steps we take because we are too busy looking for the fireworks of transformation. Major change only occurs when you work hard to lay the foundations and build momentum (see: Punctuated Equilibrium), so it’s important to acknowledge the work you are doing and see the progress you are making.

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Stay Grounded

Thursday 21 November, 2013

Two things are likely to happen as we progress with our personal development (actually, as we progress with anything). First we get excited, then we stop doing what worked for us in the first place. This post is about the excitement of progress, how important it is to enjoy it and celebrate as much as we can, but also keep our feet on the ground. It is written primarily for a friend, so I don’t have to keep reminding him to do what he knows he needs to do. But it’s also for the rest of us because when our excitement gives rise to complacency we begin to undo all our good work.

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We

Saturday 9 November, 2013

We embrace
We laugh
We love
We cry
We connect
We nourish
We heal each other
Continually

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The Hardest Part

Friday 1 November, 2013

One week ago this blog entered its final year. The mainstay of what is written in these pages is the journal I kept throughout my training. On 24th October 2014 I will publish the last entry, but between now and then stands a year of struggle as I am challenged day after day by my trainer, Karaj. This post serves as a reminder that the final part of any journey can be difficult. It also describes the kind of man Karaj was, and why working with him was so effective.

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The Words We Use

Friday 25 October, 2013

We use so many of them in such quick succession that, at times, we are not fully aware of the words we use. They tumble forth, unchecked, maybe even unheard, yet every one conveys meaning. Even more so in the sentences we form, where position is everything. Listen closely, however, and you’ll find they communicate more than just meaning. They reveal our character, point to unavoidable truths, and exert an unconscious influence on our behaviour.

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It All Comes Down To This

Monday 14 October, 2013

When we forget the simplicity of it all, or we’re convinced there must be another way; when we are stuck, or frustrated by the lack of novelty, this is the post to read. It’s a reminder of the value of repetition and practise. Every day, every minute, every breath. In the end, it all comes down to this:

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The Fork In The Road

Friday 11 October, 2013

It’s that point in the process of behavioural change, at which we are on the verge of laying down a new pathway. As we stand there, deliberating the fresh, untrodden ground for the first time, possibly even drained from the effort it has taken to get this far, it is useful to know that we are also close to rejecting the opportunity in favour of the familiar. Our preparation has taken us tantalisingly close to something new, yet we are about to turn our backs on it all, for a continuation of what we already know so well. This is to be expected and it explains, in part, why developing new habits can be a bit tricky.

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I’ll Make It

Sunday 6 October, 2013

Disembarking from a rush-hour train and racing to catch my connection, my haste dissolved in an instant – first mentally, then physically – as the thought expressed itself that, ‘I’ll make it.‘ In and of itself, this is unspectacular, but for someone whose default position is more concerned with what might go wrong specifically, or just that, generally, something will go wrong, it represents a departure from the norm. My cautionary, nay negative, attitude is such an automatic position that I barely notice it, but on this particular morning it was replaced with ease. The thought came naturally, I relaxed, and then another thought came: ‘Even if I don’t, I’ll be fine‘. And I relaxed even further.

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You Think Too Much

Monday 30 September, 2013

People have been telling me for years. And they’re right, I do think too much. In the past, whenever it was pointed out to me, I felt a sense of pride because I thought thinking too much was better than thinking too little. The trick, of course, is to find the balance between the two; to know when it’s necessary to think long and hard, and when it’s better to think only a little or not at all. This post looks at awareness, mindfulness, and mastery as tools to harness our thinking process, rather than allow ourselves to be governed or distracted by our thoughts.

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Riding & Surviving The Waves

Wednesday 25 September, 2013

I’m not a surfer, but I write this from Santa Cruz, California where surfing is everywhere. During my visit here to see a close friend, I read a book he gave me, written by a local surfing legend, Frosty Hesson. The book, Making Mavericks, contains a number of important lessons which the author identified on his way through life, and which he has passed on to many aspiring surfers over the years in order to help them become not just better surfers, but also better human beings. This post touches on what that story has taught me.

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